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SEEKING THE PEACE, PROGRESS & DEVELOPMENT OF NIGERIA; AFRICA & THE WORLD — UNDERSTANDING OUR OPERATIONAL POLICIES ….. TERRIFIC HEADLINES – By: Femi Adelegan

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At inception, we designed our mandate to operate as a non-political; non-partisan information outfit with candour, conscience, accountability, and respect for professional ethics. We resolve to operate a news magazine outfit, consisting of articles about current events, and also discuss stories, in greater depth, and not as daily newspapers that essentially publish news as they break. This stance gives us the opportunity of feeding our audience with a potpourri of interesting publications on diverse issues that give greater perception of the important events beyond the fundamental facts. We are not a news outfit that has responsibility for publishing news as they occur. We pray our readers understand this arrangement. We only consider public interest as a very important factor of development and, therefore, decided to accommodate publication of important developments like broadcasts on special occasions as they arise. The way reactions come from opposing sides in Nigeria is unsettling. And media practitioners are bound by the principle of ”The Right of Reply”

In performing this very delicate task of remaining neutral, our first loyalty is to God, followed by Nigeria, and then humanity. We believe it is safer if those wishing to put their views across to do so by way of advertisements which is safer for us and would reduce accusations and counter-accusations contained in very vitriolic statements that we have always carefully avoided for the sake of peace and progress. Accordingly we set these goals as our agenda:
•Identify and promote conscientious commentators, creative counsellors, and sincere intellectual advocates of change.
•Engage in advocacy; both for business and social concerns,
•Promote discussions in the public interest and provide platforms for interaction between government and the governed
•Enrich and educate human minds and the society at large through public service announcements, in addition to the traditional role of providing entertainment.
•Support all efforts at promoting the growth, peace and prosperity of Nigeria as well as ending all forms of conflicts in the country
•Support the African Union’s Agenda 2063, particularly its ‘Silencing the Guns Agenda – that is the lead project
•Support the United Nations in its Agenda of global peace and understanding. Currently, we support its Declaration of Year 2021 as the International Year of Peace and Trust as adopted by the UN General Assembly

CONDITIONINING/GARNISHING OF HUMAN MINDS
In prosecuting the last three topics above, we note that: ‘’Violence is natural to man and is complementary to fear, the most innate character of all life forms. ‘’All men are created equal as regards our innate fears – especially our xenophobia – and our natural propensity to violence. On the other hand, people differ in the ways they react to different situations, and this in turn depends on the way they are brought up or nurtured. ‘’This nurture is called conditioning. Parents as well as parental figures like teachers, priests, peers and the media play prominent parts in such conditioning. But it is the society that plays the most significant part in nurturing the positive and/or negative mental infrastructures, which will determine whether that society or ethnic group is benign or malignant.’’ — Xavier William (2008) — We also agree, as asserted by foremost patriot Obafemi Awolowo that: ‘’Wrangling or contention has a human trait and should be expected to be part of all societies’’. The role of the press in keeping friction to the barest minimum cannot be underestimated. In fact, the press can make or mar any society. This forms the basis for our preference to operate as a news magazine when in-depth reflections could be published to influence conduct and behaviour. This also gave birth to our sister channel: COUPLES & FAMILIES OF VIRTUES that is to soon commence operating as a NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION.

WE ARE GUIDED and determined to abide by, and be guided in professional conducts, actions, the constitution and the collective interests of the citizenry thus promoting fair play and justice. Our publications are of international standards; and are always done in good faith, and for future generations, in recognition of virtues and values that are worth reading and recording for posterity. We know that our readers and the general citizenry must agree to disagree. We believe that there must be differences in thoughts and opinions. But the society would grow only if disagreements are borne out of genuine patriotism about the need to a society through consensus and democratic norms. Therefore,
•We sensitize Nigerians, and our readers generally on socio-economic and political issues and the imperatives of peace
•We entertain only issue-based discussions based on merit, patriotism, fair play and justice
•Our efforts are chiefly directed at influencing the citizenry for improvements and better standards of living and conducts, through sensitization and advocacy activities; and the need to promote the common good.
•Embrace the social responsibility theory of the press

OUR RESPONSIBILITY
Without any doubt, the political arena has now assumed higher levels of activity. To us, as moderators and gatekeepers, we must be able to tone down problems associated with cynicism and resist the temptation to promote those issues that divide us, instead of uniting us. In doing this, we will never fail in our duty of reading the minds of people and situations correctly, while putting aside sentiments that are tearing humanity apart. Today, we stand at a major crossroad. It is through our individual beliefs and reactions that we could collectively make our societies greater. The truth is that the majority who are poor or disadvantaged are disenchanted as a result of inequality. And the manner in which we resolve issues confronting people at the lower and lowest rungs of the societal ladder all over the world will largely determine the future of our world as a united and cohesive entity that is destined to be peaceful for a longer period.

In advancing the cause of the society, we consider as very important the social responsibility theory. Social responsibility is a two-way affair that demands that individuals have their duties and responsibilities towards the development of their societies. In short, the citizenry must be socially responsible and fulfill their civic responsibilities. On its part, government must be accountable to the citizenry for implementing the social contract signed with the electorate. Accordingly, there must be balance of responsibilities and the promotion of synergy between both for economic growth and the welfare of people. We believe there is an urgent need to appeal to the reasoning of our people and change the minds of majority of our people from pessimism to optimism, through a system that promotes collaboration, inclusiveness, and viable political visions, through decent political behaviour. This is what we believe in, hence our toning down incendiary utterances and publications because we believe in running the society as a civililized entity. We try as much as possible to avoid volatile news and stories that demand from us the professional attention of ‘right of reply’ to avoid putting us in very difficult situations.

ON A GLOBAL SCALE:
We know very well that we must continually position ourselves to drive the whole world away from the path of managing increasing fragmentation and other forms of distractions. There is correlation between peace and security. The whole world, through the United Nations is conscious of the importance of peace as an essential ingredient of development. Paragraph 1 of article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ proclaims: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family; including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.” Most times, we quote former global leaders and publish their inspiring speeches to promote empathy. An excerpt from President Bill Clinton’s speech to the First Nelson Mandela Lecture delivered in South Africa in 1993 is to the point here. Bill Clinton asserted that:

‘’We do live in a world so interdependent that more email is sent everyday than postal mail, and a sneeze in Hong Kong leads to a quarantine in Toronto. But the very advances that have brought our world together – transportation, open borders, the internet – have been exploited by terrorists to tear our world apart. So, this is an exciting, but still unequal and unstable world. Yes, globalisation has lifted more people out of poverty in the last 20 years than any point in history, but half the world’s people still live on less than $2 a day and a billion of them will go to bed hungry tonight. Yes, economic growth leads to a cleaner environment at home but in the aggregate because of the way we generate growth, it contributes to global warming which is causing malaria to move to higher altitudes in Africa. Global warming will flood whole Pacific Islands over the next 50 years and will take 50 feet of Manhattan Island away. It will change agricultural production patterns in a way that can make hunger much more pronounced than in Africa, meaning more civil wars, more disruption, more terror. Yes, we’ve sequenced the human genome and those of you who may have children in the future, in Johannesburg, may give birth to children with life expectancies of 90 years but still every year we lose 10 million children to completely preventable childhood illness. But a billion of the world’s people are hungry, a billion of the world’s people cannot read a single word. In short, in our interdependent but unequal and unstable world, our simple job is to move from interdependence to an integrated global community, of shared benefits, shared responsibilities and shared values. Madiba, the title of Senator Hillary Clinton’s first book, not this best-seller but her first book, which was also a best-seller, was taken from the old African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child”. If we live in a global village we are all responsible for every child. If we truly understand the nature of the modern world then America and Europe and Australia and Asia and Africa are in the same village. And therefore, we are all part of our common endeavour to raise every child in the world. We have to be bound by simple strong values across every religious tradition. Everybody counts, everybody deserves a chance, everybody has a responsible role to play, we all do better when we work together. Our differences make life interesting.”

IMPORTANCE OF DIALOGUE:
Retd Lt. Gen. Alani Akinrinade, in one of his lectures quoted Scott London that: ’’Dialogue is every so often required ‘’to be able to overcome differences, find common ground, build meaning and purpose, and set directions together. We need to be able to think together as groups, as teams, as committees, as communities, and as citizens. Genuine understanding seems to be the exception rather than the norm in everyday communication. We speak at each other, or past each other. We speak different conceptual languages, hold different values, and embody different ways of seeing the world. Much of the time, we’re not even listening to each other at all. ‘’It is for the reason of the foregoing that our policies in this country have greatly tilted towards resolving our differences through rational persuasion and moral exhortation. We have continued to manage our political, economic, ethnic and racial challenges based on the conviction that our growing democracy would, with trial and errors endure and wax stronger.

He continued: ‘’Democracy implies the non-violent political management of difference (of opinion, of ideology, of identity and so on) within a fair system of rules that apply to all. How is integration or cohesion achieved in a society? The democratic response is: by means of policy formulation and political and legal reform, through a process that establishes and maintains the rules of social justice across all social sectors. However, according to Bloomfield and Ropers (2005, p. 2), “that merely begs another question: how is such policy formulated, how are the rules established, in such a way as to be responsive to diverse opinions and competing interests? The simple answer is, through consultation and dialogue”. ”It would be easier to support democratization processes if democracy consisted of a unique set of institutions, procedures and practices, but this is not the case. The range of democracies that exist today illustrate that there is no form of democracy that is universally appropriate. While there are commonly accepted democratic values that form the basis for all democracies, the actual institutions, procedures and practices can vary depending on a society and its people. For democracy to function, it requires the consent of the people. Therefore, concepts such as inclusiveness, participation, ownership and sustainability are essential for the advancement of democracy.’’

OPINIONS & PREJUDICES
POLITICKING & CIVILIZATION
We hold the view that the media must be able to set the agenda in motion very dispassionately and with the greatest responsibility, avoid the problems associated with cynicism, and resist the temptation to promote those issues that divide, instead of uniting the society. In doing this, it is important to read the minds of people and situations correctly, while putting aside sentiments that have torn us apart. Francis Jeffrey, it was, who stated that ‘’Opinions founded on prejudices are always sustained with the greatest of violence.” And he classifies such developments as ‘’terrorism’’. Both the private and public sectors must promote inclusiveness and accommodate all shades of opinion. This is what civilization, responsiveness, and civility is all about. If politicking is measured by what they call ‘’aroma’’ or violence, pretence, hero-worshipping rather than service to the people, and ability to win your constituency at all costs, then people who are not opinionated or intolerant should automatically disqualify themselves from seeking public office. This phenomenon is a form of terrorism that must be eliminated for the common good. We must look at, and discourage psychological terrorism, the type inflicted on America by President Donald Trump. If people are unable to express themselves freely, and with every sincerity, the resultant effect is backwardness.

OUR COLLECTIVE ASPIRATION OF COMBATING TERRORISM
What should be our common concern at the moment is proper attention to terror that is a global phenomenon. Phillip Jenkins a prominent American a professor of History of Religious Affairs argues that ‘’Terror has been practiced by state and non-state actors throughout history and throughout the world’’. Prominent Scottish jurist, journalist and parliamentarian Francis Jeffrey stated that: ‘’Terrorism is the systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population with the purpose of bringing about a particular political objective. ‘’Terrorist activity used to be confined to the assassination of statesmen and rulers, as well as bomb attacks on public buildings. ‘’The main objectives tended to be self-advertisement, or announcing your presence and demonstrating your ruthlessness to your opponents. A further objective of terrorism is to provoke so inhuman a retaliation from government that it loses popular support, and eventually awaken sympathy for the terrorist-cause. ‘’History has shown that this last aim is not always successful. When the Armenians provoked Turkey with acts of terrorism, Turkey reacted so aggressively that the Armenians came close to extinction. Terrorism has been practiced by political, religious and state institutions such as armies and the police. Due to disagreements over the definition of terrorism, it is not easy to specify whether an act is an act of terrorism or not.’’ We all have the responsibility of supporting government at this crucial period in the very difficult role of securing our societies.

But in broad terms, ‘’The word ‘terrorism’ was first used in 1795 during the French Revolution, when Robespierre and his party the Jacobins unleashed a reign of terror on their political opponents. Terrorism came even more central-stage during the 1870s in Russia, in the hands of the revolutionaries where it was construed as the only option for a force, which is weak both in strength and resources to take on an established force with almost limitless resources at its command. Soon, these terror-tactics spread to the Macedonians and Armenians of the Ottoman Empire, the Irish and the Indians in the British Empire, and anarchists of all descriptions in Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe. The degree to which terrorism relies on fear distinguishes terrorism from both conventional and guerrilla warfare wherein innocent bystanders and non-combatants are seldom targeted’’ (Xavier William; New Age Tantrums)

ON A BROADER SCALE
We are committed to supporting peace and security at the level of the African Union through its policy of management and resolution of conflicts in Africa, as well as post-conflict, peace-building reconstruction and development. We are convinced that the guns must ‘’stop booming in Africa’’ otherwise the continent will remain the poorest region in the world. We welcome articles and opinions that conform to our requirements for the promotion of discourse on this use as well as other contemporary developments. As far back as 1949, in a Resolution entitled “Essentials of Peace”, the United Nations called upon every nation “to refrain from any threats or acts, direct or indirect, aimed at impairing the freedom, independence or integrity of any State, or at fomenting civil strife and subverting the will of the people in any State”. United Nations is also on our priority scale. It is very tragic is the fact that no nation of the world is immune to conflicts and disorderly conducts. Various forms of manifestations of violence and conflicts, including political clashes, ethno-communal and religious disturbances, genocide and other forms of manifestations of crises and conflicts have not only arisen, but have become pronounced.

THE FUTURE — LETS EFFECT ATTITUDINAL CHANGES
If we must develop in Africa, let’s do away with tardiness displayed consciously or subconsciously or by sheer arrogance that hurts our common good. We require attitudinal changes. It has been established that information is crucial to peace and development. Communication technology “has a great impact on world cohesion and provides improved access to national allies and traditional rivals” (Mary B. Cassata and Molefi K. Asante) The point being made here is that the Press is an agent of peace and development. It must play its role perfectly in the interest of peace and development. The Social Responsibility Theory of the Press, as highlighted in the publication cited above, includes “conflict resolution through discussion.” The authors assert that the ‘Agenda-Setting’ theory of the press places a great burden on the modern day media to promote discourse and influence public opinion in favour of peace and development. We must recognize the need for all nations to enshrine the ethics of transparency, accountability and responsible leadership. And we must also recognize the need for the reduction of poverty and improve the quality of life of the peoples of the world.’’

YEAR 2021 Declared the “International Year of Peace and Trust” by the United Nations &
I should like to observe, like Chief Emeka Ankaoku noted over 30 years ago ‘’we live in a world of pervasive extreme poverty whose economic lopsidedness could be politically dangerous, as the gap between the rich and the poor countries continues to widen’’ and warned about the danger of hunger. This is an age in which the whole world in engrossed in efforts at dissolving international barriers, and forging new global agenda that are inspired by contemporary requirements of advancing development in all parts of the world, through the reduction of prevailing inequalities.

From this point of view, it is imperative that social institutions must be firmly based on principles of equality, justice and peaceful co-existence. Last year, the United Nation General Assembly adopted five resolutions — including one aiming to revitalize the 193-member organ and another designating 2021 as the “International Year of Peace and Trust”. We have supported the World Health Organization by sharing information sent to us massively. We are also fully committed to supporting African Union’s Agenda 2063 led by its total resolve to end all wars, civil conflicts, gender-based violence, violent conflicts, and preventing genocide in Africa. All our activities in Nigeria so far have been motivated by patriotism. I must state that we are emboldened to go further by the plight of the human race, not minding all we have gone through. We will remain committed to the evolution of reforms that will help not only our society; but also the whole world to evolve a better society, by the grace of God.

May the Good Lord Bless Nigeria!
May the Good Lord Bless African!!
May the Good Lord Bless the United Nations!!!

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